Tag Archives: Suffolk

Improvement at last!

The cold finally started to improve yesterday. I started to write a post on that subject, found inspiration came slowly and, eventually, fell asleep in my chair. Waking at just after midnight I humphed at missing a day on the blog and went to bed.

The clock went off this morning, waking me from a dream where Julia and I were about to embark, as newly-weds, on an academic career at an American University in the 1940s. I think I was vaguely remembering something I’d read in the biography section of a poetry book recently, probably about Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, but as I’m not from Yorkshire and we don’t have a gas oven it’s not a 100% fit.

Julia is now at work, I’m feeling optimistic about my prospects for the day and I now have approximately eight hours ahead of me in which to achieve either greatness or inner peace, or possibly both.

A cup of tea seems like a good starting point for either of those results, so I think I’ll go and put the kettle on.

The photograph is from the Suffolk trip, but it has tea in it so it will do as a library shot.

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Selfie in a teapot

 

A Quick Trip Out

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Old shop at Thorpeness, Suffolk

We covered quite a lot in one day – seeing Thorpeness and Aldeburgh as well as Snape. This was just as well, considering that events were to overtake us and prevent me doing much more photography.

Aldeburgh is a pleasant old town, though we didn’t actually stop, just got general impression by driving through. It’s quite clearly been a well-established holiday destination for years and a busy fishing town before that. There’s plenty to see, but it will have to keep for another day.

Thorpeness is a strange place, which looks a bit like it’s trapped in the 1930s and a bit like it was designed by a child. It’s very interesting, and was in fact privately owned from 1910 onwards. Even after death duties and selling bits off, it still hasn’t moved into modern times.

The shop is in Thorpeness and the boat and coastguard station are in Aldeburgh. I should have done better, but didn’t realise I wasn’t going to be able to get back. That’s a lesson for life really – get it done first time round – there might not be a second chance.

Snape Maltings

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Sailing barge “Cygnet” at Snape Maltings

On the first day of the trip (which was also Christmas Eve) we went to Saxmundham for a few last minute supplies and enjoyed a hectic half-hour of being bashed by shopping trollies and delayed by senior citizens before joining a queue to get out of the car park.

That is the Magic of Christmas.

As an aside, although the town fought off TESCO for years they seem to be quite enthusiastic about it now they have one. They also have a Waitrose just across the road, but there was no fight about that. The leader of the original anti-TESCO campaign was Lady Caroline Cranbrook, which could probably form the basis of a PhD on class bias in modern supermarket shopping. Things have never been the same since posh people ran out of money and could no longer afford butlers to do their shopping.

It’s interesting what they say about local food in the article, but I’m fairly sure that families with jobs and kids find supermarket shopping faster and easier than visiting individual shops. The quality might not be the same but I’d rather spend time with the family than trekking round shops. That’s not the fault of the shops, it’s the fault of modern life and my priorities.

I didn’t take any pictures in Saxmundham.

I did take some at Snape Maltings, a large complex of concert hall, antiques centre, shops and tea rooms. There is also a sailing barge and various other things to have a look at, though it was getting on a bit and we didn’t have time to look at everything. Even if we had wanted to stay we were made to feel unwelcome in the antiques centre where the man on the front counter put a barrier across the stairs and announced loudly to his assistant that he was going to close as soon as the place was empty.

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One of the plaques with Newson Garrett’s name on.

There were some nice things in the antique centre cabinets, but many of the prices were concealed, which always annoys me. If you want to sell stuff, show me the price. If you want to annoy me, turn the price ticket the wrong way round.

We looked round a craft shop and a fancy goods shop, which were both nice, with some interesting things. Sadly, a lot of stuff in the craft shop was made abroad, and cheap, which makes it cheap giftware rather than crafts. The stock in the fancy goods shop was also often made abroad, but wasn’t cheap.

We also had tea and carrot cake in a tea room. It was upstairs and access was difficult because the tables were close together and inconsiderate people were sitting so that the gangways became impassable.

It’s times like that when I seriously consider becoming registered as disabled so I can plough through blockages like that making loud comments. Julia, as you would expect, is against this idea. She points out that it’s taken her 30 years to stop me making loud, rude, comments about people and doesn’t want to let me slip back. Slightly more reasonably she also points out that being lazy and irritable with a limp and a bad finger isn’t actually being disabled.

I suppose she has a point.

The other notable event of the visit was nearly falling off the wharf into the river whilst taking photographs. There were some interesting bits and pieces along the top of the wharf (well, I find ferns and rusty bits of metal interesting), but I got a bit too close and I’ve always had a bit of trouble when looking down. I also seem to have a balance problem when looking up to take pictures of towers. The difference is that there’s nothing to fall into when you are looking up at a tower.

I stumbled slightly and dropped my stick. This was awkward as it got under my feet. For an instant I teetered. Then I recovered my balance and pretended nothing had happened when Julia arrived to pick up my stick.

 

 

Christmas in Suffolk

We have just spent Christmas in Suffolk, though I didn’t say so at the time in case there are any burglars who follow the blog. I have a lifetime accumulation of tat in the house and you can’t be too careful. It would be virtually impossible to replicate the collection these days, particularly the shelves of 1970s paperbacks that fall apart when you open them up.

It started badly when my leg started playing up in the week before we left. Then I started sneezing. And coughing. By the time we got down to Suffolk I was ready to convalesce.

At that point my arthritic finger came into play. At first it just ached, then I caught it in a cupboard door on Christmas Day. That made my eyes water. It also rendered me fairly useless, and one-handed, for Boxing Day. Fortunately everything is recovering now and the leg and finger are back to imperfect normality.

The cottage itself was wonderful and the owners had put up Christmas decorations and left gifts (a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates). Despite my various trials we had and excellent dinner and a fun visit from Julia’s brother and his wife. We also had time for jigsaws, chess and dominoes (all provided). The jigsaw had all its pieces but the chess set and dominoes didn’t, which can be a bit tricky.

The unusual name comes from the name of a shipwreck which provided the timbers for the building in the seventeenth century. Unfortunately I can’t find further details, though there are some interesting wrecks of this name, including three around Australia  and one in the North Sea (when a U-Boat sank over a dozen trawlers).

After the first day the weather was wet and wintry until it was time to come home.

Looks like we’ll have to go back when the weather is better.

 

 

Desert Island Blogs (2)

I’m thinking.

On the radio programme they used to ask the subject about their early life and such stuff.

Well, my first memories are of living in the middle of a field just outside York. A local farmer had built a bungalow in the middle of the field as a home for his cowman, but had ended up selling it. That would be about 1960-61. Out of all the memories of the time, one that stands out is of someone knocking on the door and asking to use our telephone as he’d broken down. No mobiles in those days, and no fear of strangers. I have more memories, but how many do you want?

The first blog is A Suffolk Lane by Clare Pooley. Clare has been busy recently and my insights into rural Suffolk have been more limited than I would have liked this year. When she has time to post she covers a variety of subjects – church architecture, walking, flowers, East Anglia, family, art and birds. I like East Anglia, and have a whole tribe of in-laws living in Suffolk, so this is a nice relaxing read.

I don’t think I’d be overegging the pudding to call it a rural idyll.

After York, we moved to Blackburn, which wasn’t such a nice place. There was a fascinating canal at the top of our road, which I now know to be the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. It was full of sticklebacks, which I used to net and keep in jam jars. I suppose that’s considered a bad thing these days.

The next selected blog is Salmon Brook Farms, the blog of Lavinia Ross.  Based in Oregon, the foothills of the Cascades, she and her husband grow apples, blueberries, cherries plums, pears, grapes, persimmons, grapes and hazelnuts. This seems a lot of work, even before you consider the music. And the cats, though the cats do help by writing part of the blog. I’ve never had useful cats. Ours just lazed about the place, eating, killing things and looking at me with contempt. That’s an example followed by my kids, though they don’t stalk the garden killing song birds.

In this month’s post she shows us wasps in the blueberries (with an inpressive shot of the nest) and discusses visiting foxes – they have three sorts of fox compared to our one.

Meanwhile Nano the cat has posted pictures of a skull for identification.

At one post a month I will be sitting on my desert island waiting eagerly, which will give me something to look forward to apart from typhoons and another meal of fish and coconut.

After Blackburn we moved in with family in the village of Chatburn, just under Pendle Hill. I was able to go to the same school as my parents and was taught by a teacher who had taught my mother. Here is the link that refers to the bombing raid I have mentioned previously, when my mother had to shelter under her school desk.

My third selection for the day is Notes from the Hinterland by Laurie Graves, author of Maya and the Book of Everything. I’m afraid I haven’t read it as I don’t read Young Adult fiction but it has good reviews so if it’s your sort of thing you could give it a go. It’s interesting to follow her visits to libraries and other events, and to see that books are still very much alive despite digital competition.

The rest of the posts cover things like ice cream, cycling, dining, farmers’ markets, French ancestry and a circus visit.

I’ve always quite liked Maine after watching Murder She Wrote, but it turns out, on consulting Wiki, that the programme is filmed in California, and the real Maine is subject to snow, mud, winter storms and, in summer, excessive heat. There’s always something to learn from a blog…

And when I’m too hot on the Desert Island, I can read the bits of the blog that refer to snow.

Part 3 will follow soon.

 

 

Not quite a Grand Tour

Sunday was a bit of a rush because there we a number of things to fit in, including shopping. Due to a late start and roadworks we didn’t quite manage all we intended.

The intention had been to breakfast before nine and get off early. In the end we didn’t have breakfast until after ten, but this was supposed to be a holiday it didn’t matter. If you’re going to rush breakfast you may as well stay at home.

We selected the “All you can eat Continental Breakfast” for £2.99 and turned down the offer of drinks at near enough the same price. After two substantial breakfasts in previous days, and eating out in the evenings with family , we wanted something lighter. Cheap is also good at times.

The man sitting on the next table had the unlimited cooked breakfast – sausage, bacon, mushroom, hash browns, beans, chips, black pudding, tomato and eggs – and then poured tomato ketchup all over it. It was piled so high it looked like you might need oxygen to get to the top, and with all that cholesterol it’s likely that oxygen administered via a mask will figure somewhere in his future.

Note on etiquette: The author of this blog does not condone the use of tomato ketchup before midday, and even then only on chips. It should not be used on breakfasts, and never on bacon, whatever the time. 

So, for £2.99 I had shredded wheat, banana, toast, muffins, butter and marmalade. There were other cereals, other fresh fruit, tinned fruit, things I didn’t recognise (maybe granola?), yoghurt, crumpets, margarine and jam available.

The problem with the system is that you have to do a lot of self-service, including doing your own toast by feeding it through a toaster. You had to do it twice, once to warm it and once to actually brown it. As you can imagine, that could cause some hold-ups, particularity when someone is there doing all the toast for a table of six.

Once that was finished, we got on with the trip. I wanted a picture of Nelson’s column in Lowestoft. It was originally built at a time when this part of the coast was undeveloped, but over the years it has been surrounded by an incongruous collection of commercial buildings. It’s an interesting thing – but not as interesting as the story of its first keeper – which is detailed here.

Coming back from that we managed to get a picture of the old Victorian gasometer.

A detour to Gorleston produced the picture of the onshore lighthouse and the notice that looks like what you would expect if Banksy did a dog fouling notice.

After that we set off for Dunwich – stopping for toilets in Southwold on the way (Yes, I’m getting older!). We didn’t have time to go round Southwold as we had plans for Dunwich, followed by a visit to the St George’s Distillery. The pictures show beach huts and the pier at Southwold and the beach at Dunwich – with Southwold in the north and the Sizewell nuclear power stations to the south.

In the end we got to Dunwich, but had to leave before the museum opened (2-4 pm if you are interested) to get to the distillery. We ended up stuck in roadworks on the way, so by the time we had shopped our day was ended.

That’s the problem with trying to rush round – you miss out on doing things in order to do something else and then find you can’t do that either. Next time we go away we’ll have to make sure that we plan better.